Dec 22, 2007
by Jim Coventry, Guest Blogger.
He definitely saved as many fantasy players as he doomed, and he being none other the Brian Westbrook last Sunday when he fell down on the one yard line. I cannot imagine what it sounded like in the living rooms of America that had involvement in their fantasy games that included BW. If that play alone was not cause for fantasy leagues to find a better way to determine league champions, consider the fact the so many top players completely tanked on semi-final Sunday throughout this country, ruining potentially great seasons by teams in on three-hour window of time. Purists will say it is just like the NFL playoffs, where a team will line up for a playoff game and anything can happen. I think purists miss the point.
An NFL team is developing a team for their postseason, as they create a delicate balance of running, passing, special teams, and defense. When they enter the field for that crucial playoff game, they have game planned and prepared for many contingencies, and at the end of the day, it was their execution that made or broke their playoff fate. That team decides if they will use their superstar as the focus of the attack, a decoy, or some amount in between.
A fantasy team gets a reasonable balance of games from their players over the course of a season and that often explains why very few teams go undefeated or even posting gaudy regular season records. The regular season is invaluable- it separates the men from the boys- the teams that earned their playoff spots and the teams that missed the field (and tried to blame it on one isolated play.)
If you run a league, you should strongly consider finding a way to keep one crazy week from ruining the season for teams that deserved a better fate. I stress that fantasy playoffs are nothing like the NFL playoffs (as detailed above,) though the regular season is very much like the NFL regular season.
In my league (dynasty league that has been in existence since 1994,) we have leveled the playing field in the playoffs. For the first six years of the league’s existence, we used a traditional ‘one and done’ system, which produced a 20% success rate for the #1 seeded teams. That rate is not close to what the NFL produces. Since 1999, we went to a regular-season schedule of doubleheaders, so we could get a lot of games to make sure we had the right four playoff teams (4 out of 10 make our playoffs, which is in line with the percentage of NFL teams that make it.) After the regular season, the four teams play-off in ‘best of three’ series (The flaw in our system is that if both series go three games, we end in week 17- which we could adjust and go with 10 instead of 11 regular season weeks.) Since going to a best-of-three, the #1 seeds have won just under 40% of the time, which is a more realistic percentage than the blind luck systems that ‘one and done’ systems afford.
Regardless of whether you make a change or not, talk to your league ownership and see if there is a better idea that works for your league. In my league last week, I was the guy that had Westbrook, and not only would the TD have helped me, but Dallas would have had the all back with two minutes left against a dime defense and I had Tony Romo & Terrell Owens (PPR league,) and that could have made all the difference in my game. As it stands, I still have a chance to get it right this week and the opponent has to earn the title by beating me twice.